Healthy Living Tip #5: Sugar

Healthy living tip #5: Avoid Sugar. Diabetes, immune system suppression, depression, and weight gain are all linked to sugar consumption.

Sugar is everywhere in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Processed foods are packed with unnecessary sugars including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Sugary treats and drinks are so prevalent in the SAD that most children are addicted to sugar before their second birthday.

You must stop and seriously consider the effects all of this sugar is having on your health.

Here are 3 serious health effects that sugar has on your health.

1. Diabetes

According to theAmerican Diabetes Association consumption of sugary drinks such a juices and soda are linked to developing type 2 diabetes. The ADA also recommends avoiding sugary drinks to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes. Just one 12-ounce can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.  

Think diabetes can’t happen to you despite the soda you can’t seem to resist. No one is immune to the effects of a high sugar diet. Diabetes can be crippling and fatal when left uncontrolled. I think we can all agree that we would rather be walking around in our 50s and 60s rather than wheel chair bound due to the effects of diabetes simply because we couldn’t stop drinking juices and sodas.

2. Damages Your Immune System

Sugar suppresses your immune system, specifically the production of phagocytes within hours of consumption. Phagocytes are the cells in your immune system that surround and breakdown foreign material in your body. Suppressing these cells allows bacteria and pathogens to invade your body and cause you to fall ill.

There is no coincidence that cold and flu season occurs during the time of year when we consume the greatest amount of sugary treats and desserts.

Sugar also interferes with the transport of vitamin C through our bodies thus allowing our bodies to fall ill easier. Vitamin C is needed in the production of phagocytes as well as to neutralize cancer causing free radicals that float around in our bodies. Insulin transports vitamin C as well as sugar in our bodies. If insulin is too busy with the sugar molecules then the Vitamin C is left unable to do its very important job of keeping our bodies healthy.

3. Weight Gain

According to this WebMD article eating less sugar allows for weight loss and eating a high amount of sugar causes weight gain. Sugar is addicting plain and simple. When you have one piece or one bite of a sugary treat you want more. And more. And more. And the cycle continues until you are sick, walk away, or run out of treats.

Why are we doing this to our body for the quick “drug high” caused by sugar consumption? Break the addiction, detox your body of sugars, and start on your road to a healthier life. A sweet treat is not worth all of the negative effects it has on our bodies.

Please know that this is not exhaustive and I want to encourage you to do your own research into the additional negative health effects sugar has on your health.

You are invited to join me for the other healthy living tips in my 31 day series. 

 

Healthy Living Tip #4: Processed Foods

Healthy living tip #4, remove all processed foods from your diet.

Removing processed foods from our diet has earned its place in my top five healthy living tips for good reason. Nutritionally speaking there is nothing of redeeming value in processed foods. Aside from nutritional value, the benefit of removing processed food completely from your diet far outweigh the convenience aspect that this type of food provides.

I am at a healthy living conference this weekend and processed foods are being thrown under the bus left and right. Reason after reason is being given for eliminating processed foods to heal our bodies and our environment.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to eliminate processed foods from your diet immediately.

1. Food Allergies

Processed foods are packed full of chemicals, fillers, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). All of the unnatural ingredients that we are pouring into our bodies are seen as foreign objects by our digestive tract. The chemicals and fillers are causing immune responses which in turn cause allergic reactions. Your body is trying to evacuate the foreign food by causing the allergic reaction. Do your body a favor and don’t eat the processed food in the first place.

2. Asthma

If you or your children suffer from asthma you absolutely must go to your pantry and refrigerator and examine what you are eating. Asthma is another allergic reaction caused by the sulfites, fillers, and GMOs in the processed foods as described above. A whole food plant based diet will do wonders for healing asthmatic lungs.

3. Weight Loss

As I mentioned yesterday in the healthy living tip in which I discussed elimination soda consumption, cutting out processed foods will also help with weight loss. Processed foods are packed full of fake calories. unhealthy fats, and sugars. All of which lead directly to weight gain and ultimately obesity if left unchecked.

4. Heart Disease

The trans fats in processed foods lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and premature death. If you suffer from heart health issues you need to remove any and all processed foods from your daily diet.

5. Blood Pressure

If you are like most American adults you suffer from (or know someone who is suffering from) high blood pressure. Processed foods are packed, and I mean packed with sodium. In the world of food manufacturing, salt acts as a food preserver and extends the shelf life of foods in our grocery stores. However, sodium also increases your blood pressure and elevates your risk of stroke and heart disease. Cutting out processed foods will reduce all of these health risk factors.

Since learning about processed foods and the harmful effects that they have on our health I can not justify spending hard earned money on foods that do not promote health. Processed foods are tearing your health apart, one bite at a time.

Please join me for the rest of my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

Five Friday Finds #156

I am so excited to be co-hosting the Five Friday Finds with CJ from Morsels of Life this month. Please join me in congratulating CJ and her family on their new baby. 

This month I am also participating in a 31 days of writing challenge. Along with hundreds of other bloggers I will be sharing a post every day this month related to one topic. Due to the number of comments and questions that I receive here on the blog as well as across my various social media channels I have decided to share Healthy Living Tips each day this month

I’d like to invite you to come and enjoy this month long series with me as I encourage and equip you to live a healthier life.

31 Days Healthy Living Tips

The most popular post from last week’s Five Friday Finds

One Pot Mexican(ish) Shephard’s Pie from Schmoody Foody

And now for 4 featured recipes

 

Couscous Salad Cups from A Sprinkle of This and That

This recipe sounds absolutely delicious and can easily be changed to fit a variety of dietary lifestyles. Simply using vegetable broth and vegan cheese instantly transforms this dish into a quick and easy vegan lunch choice.

 

Butternut Squash Cranberry Salad from Skinnyfitalicious

What’s not to love about this gorgeous salad? Perfectly vegan just as it is, this recipe is going in my fall inspired collection of recipes.

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning from The Pin Junkie

If you follow my Facebook page at all, you already know how much my family and I love tacos. Tuesdays are officially Taco Tuesdays in our home and should I forget I have 7 children to quickly remind me. Even though we don’t add meat to our tacos, some good old fashioned taco seasoning adds delicious flavor and spice to our weekly tradition. I love this recipe!

 

Easy Antioxidant Trail Mix from Skinnyfitalicious

My 3 youngest children have to have a snack whenever we go somewhere. Not only do they need the snacks to keep them occupied but their little bodies need constant refueling. I have it down to a science when I throw together our on-the-go trail mix snack bags. I’m always looking for new ideas though and this recipe fits that bill perfectly.

I hope you enjoy these Five Friday Finds! And please link up your recipes below, you might even get featured. Recipe images will be pinned on Pinterest.

 

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Share your recipes on Morsels of Life: Five Friday Finds

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Please stop by and tell CJ hello and congratulations on her new baby!

CJ @ Morsels of Life

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Which recipes made your “must try” list this week?

Here are a few simple rules before you link-up:

  • Recipes only please. Link to the recipe page directly, not your home page.
  • Stop by a few other links and say hello.
  • Please link back to this page in your recipe post.
  • By linking-up you are giving permission to use your images with a link back to your site.

 


Healthy Living Tip #3: Soda

Healthy Living Tip Soda

This weekend I am at the ShiftCon conference in Los Angeles networking with other healthy living and environmentally conscious bloggers as well as brands in our industry. Blogging conferences go against everything I recommended in yesterday’s healthy living tip. Sleep will be few and far between this weekend as I cram in speaker sessions, networking with other bloggers, and forming relationships with brands.

Typically sleep deprived people, such as I will be this weekend rely heavily on caffeinated drinks to help them feel awake and alert. Being that I cut out caffeine, particularly soda years ago I won’t be turning to those jolts of energy to keep me awake this weekend. I know the harmful effects that caffeine and soda have on my body and I choose not to harm my health which I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

What are the benefits of removing soda and caffeine from your diet?

1. Lose Weight

Soda is packed with calories. One 12 ounce can is approximately 140 calories while a 32 ounce big gulp has a whopping 364 calories.  Just one can of soda a day will add 51,110 calories over the course of one year. That is enough calories to pack on 14.6 pounds of fat. This alone should be enough motivation to ditch the cola.

2. Prevent Diabetes

The sugar and calorie combination in soda can lead to diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people who drink one to two cans of soda per day have a 26 percent greater chance of developing type-2 diabetes than those who abstain from sugary drinks.

3. Live Longer

Added weight along with diabetes is a recipe for cutting your life shorter than it would be otherwise. The extra calories and sugar could also lead to obesity which will shorten your life dramatically. Around one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related illness is caused by soda, according to Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, commenting on research presented at an American Heart Association conference in March 2013.

4. Healthier Heart

The added caffeine in soda can increase your chance for heart disease. The sodium and caffeine in soda have a dehydrating effect on the body which increase blood pressure, blood glucose, and triglycerides.

The moral of the story today is, ditch the soda and grab some water.

If you haven’t had a chance already, please read the rest of the tips I’ve shared so far in this month long series.

 

 

 

Healthy Living Tip #2: Sleep

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips Sleep

Welcome to day #2 of a month long series in which I am sharing healthy living tips. My goal is to encourage and equip you to make little changes throughout the month which will result in an overall healthier you as we begin the holiday season.

Healthy living tip #2 is to get your sleep

You may remember my tip from yesterday was to drink at least 50% of your body weight in water ounces every day. Getting enough sleep is second in health only to hydration.

When you don’t get sufficient quality sleep or enough hours of rest every night your overall health will suffer greatly. A lack of sleep will upset your metabolism and eating patterns. Typically a lack of sleep will make you more prone to unhealthy food choices the following day because your body is stressed. When we are stressed we eat. Going to bed at a decent hour will also stop those sabotaging late night kitchen snack raids. 

Additionally, a lack of sleep will also stress your immune system making your more prone to illness, infections, and diseases.

Chronic sleep deprivation will also cause premature aging and skin damage.

Considering all of the negative effects that lack of sleep can cause to our body it serves us well to head to bed earlier than usual every night. Don’t undo all of the positive progress you make with your health by staying up a few extra hours at night.

Sleep is good. It feels good and helps us look good.

If you’d like to read the rest of my 31 days of healthy living tips as they publish, please visit 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

Healthy Living Tip #1: Water

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips #1

I am starting my 31 days of healthy living tips with water because I truly believe it will make a huge difference in your overall health if you will simply drink enough.

I tout, encourage, and question my Facebook fans throughout the week about their water intake. Honestly consider and ask yourself how much clean filtered water you drink on a daily basis. If you are like the average person you are lucky to drink 1-2 glasses of water everyday. Some people go through their day without drinking one sip of this life giving fluid.

Consider for a minute what this lack of water does for your internal organs and cellular function. Water is the essence of life, every animal on the planet needs it to survive. A human adult is approximately 60% water. Every cell in our body needs clean water to function and survive. Dehydration will kill you faster than starvation, that is how important water is to our functioning of a healthy body.

Your goal for today needs to be 50-66% of your body weight in fluid ounces of clean filtered and purified water.

For example, a 200 pound person will need a minimum of 100 ounces of water to meet 50% of their body weight in ounces. Some water intake comes from our food sources but a 200 pound person should still be striving for 9-10 8oz glasses of water everyday. Please calculate your daily water intake accordingly.

Don’t touch the tap water, it is full of chemicals that don’t do your body any good.

To help you reach your daily goal, fill up a large stainless steel water bottle first thing in the morning. Continually drink from it throughout the day and refill as needed. My favorite water bottle is the Hydracentials Sporty 25 Oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Flip Cap and Straw. I prefer flip cap bottles but if you would rather have wide mouth or sport clip bottles, those cap options are also available.

So before forget, go grab a glass of water right now. Drink. Enjoy. Hydrate. Be Healthy.

Thank you so much for joining me for day 1 of my 31 days of healthy living tips. If you don’t want to miss any of these tips please be sure and sign-up for my email list. When you subscribe you will also receive my newest freebie ebook, Back to School Lunch Ideas: Gluten Free and Vegan Alternatives

 

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

31 Days Healthy Living Tips

For the entire month of October I am incredibly excited to be joining 31 Days: A Writing Challenge as well as all of the other amazing bloggers that are participating in this month long challenge.

My 31 days of writing challenge this year will be to share healthy living tips each and every day in October. October is often the start of the crazy holiday season for most families and unfortunately that means busyness and a less than stellar diet. I want to encourage you this month to take each of the healthy tips that I will be sharing to heart and incorporate them into your lifestyle to make this holiday season the healthiest that it can possibly be.

So please, come join me each and every day this month to read the latest tip as well and get a jolt of encouragement to turn away from the sweets and unhealthy food temptations that are likely to surround you until the end of this year.

Healthy Living Tip #1 Water

Healthy Living Tip #2 Sleep

Healthy Living Tip #3 Soda

Healthy Living Tip #4 Processed Foods

Healthy Living Tip #5 Sugar

Healthy Living Tip #6 Plant Based Diet

Healthy Living Tip #7 Ginger

Healthy Living Tip #8 Tulsi

Healthy Living Tip #9 Lavender

Healthy Living Tip #10 Peppermint

Healthy Living Tip #11 Oregano Oil

Healthy Living Tip #12 Probiotic

Healthy Living Tip #13 Arnica

Healthy Living Tip #14 Tea Tree Oil

Healthy Living Tip #15 Garlic

Healthy Living Tip #16 Avocados

Healthy Living Tip #17 Echinacea

Healthy Living Tip #18 Neti Pot

Healthy Living Tip #19 Cranberry Juice

Healthy Living Tip #20 Fluoride

Healthy Living Tip #21 Elderberry

Healthy Living Tip #22 Cleaning Chemicals

Healthy Living Tip #23 Peanuts

Healthy Living Tip #24 Feminine Hygiene Products

Healthy Living Tip #25 Chlorella

Healthy Living Tip #26 Spirulina

Healthy Living Tip #27 Wheat Grass

Healthy Living Tip #28 Essential Oils

Healthy Living Tip #29 Homeopathics

Healthy Living Tip #30 Skin Care

Healthy Living Tip #31 Exercise

Don’t miss a day of this series, be sure and sign-up to receive a healthy living tip in your email inbox every day. You will also receive my newest subscriber freebie Back to School Lunch Ideas: Gluten Free and Vegan Alternatives


 

The Truth You’ve Never Been Told About Peanuts

Peanuts

Peanuts are a staple in the Standard American Diet (SAD) with peanut butter being the most common way Americans consume the tree nut each and everyday. What could possibly be wrong with something that is so widely consumed?

Simple. Aflatoxin. 

What is aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a potent cancer causing toxin produced from a mold found on maize, peanuts, and in peanut butter. This toxin is the most widely researched mycotoxin in the world. The fungi that produces aflatoxin as a by product of its metabolism thrives in warm and wet climates so the amount of contamination will vary based on climate. In addition to being a carcinogen, aflatoxin can also cause acute poisoning in humans.*

Although I’ve simplified and understated the effects that aflatoxin can have on humans, why would you continue to eat peanuts and peanut butter as well as feed it to your children knowing what you do know?

Our job as caring and loving parents is to look out for the well being of our children, both emotionally and physically. Are you looking out for your child’s physical well being if you continue to feed them peanut butter knowing the effects that the aflatoxin contained in that peanut butter could cause them cancer?

As you can see in this FDA document, there are strict inspection guidelines for testing aflatoxin in domestic and imported sources with a limit of 20 parts per billion (ppb). However, there is great discussion regarding the set limit of 20ppb. Is this a truly safe limit for aflatoxin contamination? Perhaps, as we’ve seen in other contamination cases researchers may discover later that 20ppb is far too high for safe hman consumption. There is just no way to know right now what the true safe limit is. Are you willing to put the safety and health of your family in the hands of researchers who will most likely change their mind about safe aflatoxin limits in our food supply at a later date?

Peanuts and peanut butter alternatives

Knowing what you do know about a cancer causing toxin in our peanut and peanut butter supply we need to find a safe alternative so our children can still enjoy their childhood staple of “PB&J”.

Thankfully there are a number of other safe nut butters available that we can pair with our favorite jelly to make lunchtime sandwiches.

Nut butters that work well on sandwiches or paired with fruit and vegetables (celery) include almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, and pecan butter. I want to encourage you to find which peanut butter alternative you and your family prefer. Keep in mind you may prefer almond butter on sandwiches but enjoy cashew butter more with celery or apples for example. Personally, my family and I enjoy almond butter with everything although I am experimenting and encouraging my family to try a variety of nut butters.

Unfortunately, nut butters can be very expensive. To save on our monthly food budget while still providing my family the healthiest food possible, I make our almond butter. You might enjoy our maple almond butter recipe.

Moral of this story is to stay educated and never assume that an old family favorite is healthy or safe. Stay informed and stay healthy.

Sources: EHSO & Dr. Mercola

The Case Against Drinking Milk

The Case Against Drinking Milk. Long-term ill health effects from dairy.

It has long been accepted that milk, particularly from cows or even goats is a necessary part of our everyday diet. Milk has long been promoted, dare I say overly promoted, as a crucial source of calcium. An enormous portion of our population still believes that calcium is needed to build strong bones and that milk is the only source to obtain these necessary levels of calcium. There is just one problem with this propaganda that has been thrown down our throats, cow’s milk is nutritionally perfect for baby cows (calfs) and likewise goat’s milk is intended for baby goats (kids).

Why would humans want to consume something designed and nutritionally perfected for another animal?

I won’t argue that we need calcium. My background in biology has proven to me time and time again that our bones do in fact need the mineral calcium for bone health, strength, and growth. However, we should not be obtaining this calcium from dairy products.

You may remember a recent post in which I discussed the health effects from eating and drinking animal sources, including why we should not be drinking milk. 

In addition to not being designed for our digestive systems, according to this article and numerous related articles like it there are numerous other hazardous effects from consuming dairy. These ill effects include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, and harmful effects on infants and children. Why would you willingly consume something that causes all of these health related issues? 

Milk is not making you healthier, it is making you sick and costing you your health.

In order to obtain the calcium your body needs try these non-dairy alternatives:

  • Non-dairy milk; sources such as almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are wonderful and delicious options for your morning breakfast cereal or to use in recipes calling for milk. If the source does not naturally contain calcium, commercial sources will often be supplemented with calcium.
  • Vegetables; yes fresh veggies are an excellent source of calcium. As you can see from this info graphic there are plenty of excellent sources of calcium in a plant-based dairy-free lifestyle.

vegan calcium sources infographicSource: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.

  •  Figs; 8 ounces of figs contain 79-100mg of calcium which is excellent for fruit sources.

With so many amazing plant-based non-dairy sauces readily available for your daily calcium intake and considering the horrendous health effects dairy has on your body, why are you still drinking milk, eating cheese and yogurt? I’d like to encourage you to ditch the dairy and choose plant-based sources for your daily calcium.

5 Carnivore Myths Debunked

5 Carnivore Myths Debunked. Alexismathews.com #vegan #plantbased

5 Carnivorous Diet Myths  

As always, please do not take my word for the statements included in this post, please do your own research so that you see there is ample scientific proof to debunk each of the following statements. With sufficient research you will begin to learn that an animal based diet, one filled with meat and dairy is not healthy and in no way prolongs your life span or quality of life.

  1. You need animal protein to consume all of the essential amino acids your body needs to grow and thrive. This is undeniably false, as you can see by this protein and amino acids chart from VeganHealth.org is that there are ample non-animal food sources that contain high levels of protein and essential amino acids. You absolutely do not need to eat animal protein or dairy products to receive sufficient protein and essential amino acids.
  2. Humans are designed to eat meat. This myth might be the one that gets under my skin the most. If those that claim this myth to be true did even a little bit of research they would quickly find out that this is absolutely false. Our “canine” teeth do not resemble the shape or serve the same function as large meat eating carnivores. These teeth are not efficient in the least for tearing meat off of bones. Additionally, our intestines are very long. The average human has a total of 25 feet of small and large intestines combined. Carnivores on the other hand have very short intestines which are designed to breakdown carnivorous diet. In light of this information if you still choose to eat meat you should know that it takes our intestines such a long time to breakdown meat that it rots in out gut before it is full expelled from our body. Chew on that thought next time you chow down.
  3. Children need meat to develop properly. Absolute nonsense. Not only do I know this to be false from my own personal experience with my children but based simply on the facts that we’ve already discussed, children just like adults need protein and 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop. Protein and amino acids from fruits and vegetables are a much healthier source than from fat and cancer laden animal sources.
  4. Dairy is a healthy source of calcium and essential for bone health. This myth took me the longest to learn and there is so much mis-leading information out there from large dairy-pro conglomerates. When it comes to healthy sources of calcium, dairy cannot compare to almonds, beans, tofu, and most dark green vegetables. Did you know that a cup of broccoli and other dark leafy green veggies have a calcium absorption rate of between 40 and 61  percent whereas milk has a calcium absorption rate of 32 percent? When it comes to calcium absorption is the key! When you couple the cancer causing properties of casein found in dairy with its low calcium absorption why would you waste your time and money buying dairy when you can spend more wisely on other fruits and veggies?
  5. You must eat meat to get a sufficient amount of iron in your diet.  A simple look at the nutritional content of nuts, grains, and in particular dark leafy green vegetables will debunk this myth in a heartbeat. As you can see from this chart, spinach has over 15 times more iron/mg than sirloin, hamburger, or chicken. The leading iron food sources are all vegan!

5 carnivore myths debunked. Spinach has 15 times more iron than animal sources. alexismathews.com

There are unfortunately many more false carnivore myths out there but these 5, in my opinion, are the most predominant and steadfast myths that human meat eaters stand behind. For your health I want to encourage you to do your own research into these myths, see for yourself that they are completely false and hold no weight. When you remove animal  sources from your diet you will start walking down the road to complete and natural health. Don’t take my word for it, try removing animal sources for 21 days, see how you feel and the changes that you notice in your body and mental well-being might surprise you.

If you would like to try some delicious vegan recipes you might enjoy these:

Incredible Indian Pancakes

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup